Work-life balance is a broad concept including proper prioritizing between “work” (career and ambition) on one hand and “life” (pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development) on the other. Related, though broader, terms include “lifestyle balance” and “life balance”.
The expression was first used in the late 1970s to describe the balance between an individual’s work and personal life. In the United States, this phrase was first used in 1986.Over the past twenty-five years; there has been a substantial increase in work which is felt to be due, in part, by information technology and by an intense, competitive work environment.
Long-term loyalty and a “sense of corporate community” have been eroded by a performance culture that expects more and more from their employees yet offers little security in return. Many experts predicted that technology would eliminate most household chores and provide people with much more time to enjoy leisure activities; but many ignore this option, encouraged by prevailing consumerist culture and a political agenda that has “elevated the work ethic to unprecedented heights and thereby reinforced the low value and worth attached to parenting?.
Many Americans are experiencing burnout due to overwork and increased stress. This condition is seen in nearly all occupations from blue collar workers to upper management. Over the past decade, a rise in workplace violence increased in levels of absenteeism as well as rising workers? compensation claims are all evidence of an unhealthy work life balance.
Employee assistance professionals say there are many causes for this situation ranging from personal ambition and the pressure of family obligations to the accelerating pace of technology. According to a recent study for the Center for Work-Life Policy, 1.7 million people consider their jobs and their work hours excessive because of globalization. These difficult and exhausting conditions are having adverse effects.